A post on the Chicago Reader‘s blog, Bleader. — J.R.
A brief dispatch from Rotterdam
Posted By Jonathan Rosenbaum on 01.28.07 at 04:32 PM
I’m posting this from a public, stand-up facility at the Rotterdam film festival, which means I have to keep this brief. I’ve seen only one feature so far that I’ve cared for very much — a documentary called Murch by Edie and David Ichioka, about film editor Walter Murch (whom I once had the pleasure of working with on a re-edited version of Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil). The film offers a fascinating glimpse of some of the tricks of Murch’s trade, presented with wit and lucidity. Edie Ichioka is a former assistant of Murch’s, and she and her husband clearly knew the right sort of questions to get him started.
Otherwise, I’ve been mainly seeing things that I don’t last all the way through. (Walking out of films is something of a luxury for me, since for obvious professional reasons I can’t do this when I’m reviewing in Chicago.) The main exceptions have been a couple of interesting experimental shorts, both of which find novel ways of combining animation with live action — called, respectively, Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light and Regarding the Pain of Susan Sontag (Notes on Camp) — and Summer Palace, a sort of dirge about a female college student in Beijing before, during, and after the Tiananmen Square events, by Lou Ye, the director of Suzhou River, which I stayed to the end of mainly because of jetlag and inertia. This film does have the merit of revealing, through an unaccustomed amount of sex and nudity for a mainland Chinese film, how banal a Chinese softcore soap opera can be, even one that’s been banned.